One of the enjoyable experiences you’ll be offered on a French hotel barge cruise in Alsace will be the opportunity to enjoy private wine tastings when cruising through the Route des Grand Vins.
The Route des Grands Vins
Officially established in 1953, the Route des Grands Vins winds through the valleys in the foothills of the Vosges Mountains for some 170 kilometres. Stretching from Marlenheim in the north to Thann in the south, a journey along the Route takes in over 1,000 wine producers.
Many vineyards and wineries along the Route des Grands Vins welcome visitors for tasting sessions. When you’re travelling through Alsace aboard the Barge Panache, you’ll have the chance to attend wine tastings during the onshore day trips.
To reassure the novice and to refresh the more experienced wine connoisseurs, here are some tips for tasting etiquette so that you get the most from your visits to these vineyards.
Wine tasting may seem a little intimidating to the average, casual drinker, but with a few pointers it is easy to learn the basics. You don’t need loads of expert knowledge to get started – all you need are your senses!
The very first thing you’ll need to do is give your wine a thorough visual once-over. Swirl and tilt the glass to catch the full range of a wine’s color.
Alsace is a mainly white wine-producing region, so expect to find a lot of Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Gris (with the occasional Pinot Noir for the red-loving crowd). With the white wines you’ll be looking for color tones that are tawny, golden or yellowy-green. You should make sure it is clear and sparkling, not murky and dull.
Next, the smell test
A few quick sniffs should tell you everything you need to know about a wine’s bouquet. Experienced connoisseurs might talk of grapefruit and musk, but focus on specific bouquet groups to get started. Is it fruity? Herbal? Flowery? From dry to sweet, fruity to herbal, you’ll find a spectrum of bouquets in Alsace.
Finally, the tasting. Take a small sip (not a gulp) and let it circulate through your mouth. You may want to spit the wine out if you’re planning to taste many, but swallowing the wine is perfectly all right. In tasting, you should be able to pick up the same characteristics you identified in smelling the wine, but you will also be able to get a sense of the wine’s balance and complexity.
The Ultimate Test
Remember that the best measurement of a wine is whether you actually like it. Though your preferences may evolve with more tasting experience, the best wines are the ones you would actually want to taste again.
Along the Route des Grands Vins, you will have plenty of opportunities to sharpen your tasting skills. On a Panache hotel barging cruise, the vast and varied world of Alsatian wine is open to you in this stunning corner of the world.
12-passenger Hotel Barge Panache cruises in Holland & Belgium
during the springtime, then through Paris to Champagne, and finishes
their season in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France.
- Route: Between Niderville and Kraftt, France – Click for Alsace itinerary
- Dates: July 12-October 31, 2020
- Accommodations: up to 12 passengers in 6 ensuite staterooms
- Charters and Cabin cruises
- Itineraries: See all itineraries
- Learn more: Online brochure
The 128-foot Panache
is a 12-passenger luxury hotel barge of classic
Dutch design, fully air conditioned with spacious public areas and six
en-suite stateroms, with your choice of twin or double bed
configuration. En-suite bathrooms have twin sinks and oversize showers
with massage jets. Panache is traditionally furnished in an old ship
style with brass and mahogany, creating a comfortable and charming ambience.
The salon and dining room have large panoramic windows for viewing the
passing countryside, as well as comfortable sofas, books and music, and
an always open inclusive bar. The sun deck is spacious and has
a heated spa pool; a perfect place to watch the sun set after dinner.
Panache has a highly professional crew of six, comprised of Master Chef,
Deck Hand, Tour guide, two Housekeepers, and led by a knowledgeable and
experienced Captain, who will ensure your cruise is memorable and more.